US rapper A$AP Rocky pleaded not guilty to assault at his trial in Sweden over a street brawl, saying he acted in self-defence in a case that has stirred diplomatic tensions and outraged fans.
The 30-year-old rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was arrested on July 3 along with three other people following the fight in Stockholm on June 30. One of them, the rapper’s bodyguard, was later released.
At the start of the trial on Tuesday morning prosecutor Daniel Suneson told the court that he believed that Mayers, and the two other accused, had assaulted the plaintiff, a 19-year old man, together.
Suneson said the accused had punched, kicked, and hit the plaintiff with a bottle.
He then went on to show the court parts from some 550 pages of the preliminary investigation.
The evidence highlighted included surveillance footage and maps to establish a timeline of the events leading up to the brawl.
– Video evidence –
The prosecution then went on to show a number of videos, including ones published by US celebrity news outlet TMZ, where the rapper can be seen throwing a young man to the ground and then aiming several punches at him while he is down.
The court was also shown videos published to the rapper’s Instagram account, in which the young man can be seen arguing with the musician over a pair of headphones.
The artist appears to repeatedly ask the man and his friend to stop following him and his entourage. One of the young men can also be seen hitting the artist’s bodyguard.
However, the prosecution also showed videos retrieved from the phones of members of the artist’s entourage, as well as 13 minutes of security footage from a fast-food restaurant.
Suneson told the court the videos showed the lead up to the fight and also proved that the videos posted to the artist’s Instagram had been edited to remove instances where the bodyguard grabbed and pushed the plaintiff prior to the fight.
The prosecutor also showed text conversations between members of the artist’s crew, stating that the video uploaded to Instagram had been “cleaned up a bit”.
The lawyer told the court his client acted in self-defence.
“He admits that he threw the plaintiff on the ground, that he stepped on his arm and punched or pushed his shoulder,” Mayers’ lawyer Slobodan Jovicic told the court, but added that it was a case of “self-defence”.